BJP's North Bengal MLA Suman Kanjilal joins TMC ahead of panchayat polls
With the defection of Kanjilal, BJP’s strength in the Assembly has come down to 69 from 77 as five other MLAs had joined the ruling TMC earlier.
Published: 05th February 2023 08:48 PM | Last Updated: 05th February 2023 11:48 PM | A+A A-
KOLKATA: In a jolt to BJP’s north Bengal stronghold, an MLA from Alipurduar of the saffron camp on Sunday defected to the Trinamool Congress (TMC).
Suman Kanjilal, a BJP MLA from the north Bengal constituency, joined the Trinamool Congress in presence of Abhishek Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress’s national general secretary and nephew of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
With the defection of Kanjilal, BJP’s strength in the Assembly has come down to 69 from 77 as five other MLAs had joined the ruling TMC earlier. Two MPs, who had contested in the 2021 Assembly elections and won, decided to function as representatives in the lower house of the Parliament.
"As an MLA, I want to work for the common people. I discussed it with the chief minister. I decided to join the TMC to work better for the people. I wanted to perform more when I was a BJP MLA using the schemes of the Union government. But I could not because many projects were stalled by the BJP-led Centre,’’ said Kanjilal.
Kanjilal’s change in political allegiance is said to be significant ahead of the panchayat elections in the state.
Though the TMC had secured a sweeping victory by bagging 214 seats out of 292 in the 2021 Assembly polls, the party failed to leave a footprint in the Alipurduar district as the BJP secured victory in all five seats.
"The people who voted for the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and 2021 Assembly polls are disappointed. They realised there is no alternative political force other than the TMC which can offer good governance," said a senior TMC leader, adding that there were more surprises waiting for the BJP in North Bengal.
In the 2019 general elections, the BJP bagged 18 seats out of 42 in Bengal of which seven were from north Bengal.
Previously, two other BJP MLAs from north Bengal - Krishna Kalyani of Raiganj and Soumen Roy of Kaliaganj joined the TMC at different times.
Three other saffron party legislators from the southern part of the state, including former Union minister Mukul Roy, also switched sides.
Lok Sabha MP and former West Bengal BJP vice-president Arjun Singh had also joined the TMC.